Big Ten Tournament: Day One

Here is a game-by-game look at the surprisingly interesting day one matchups of the 2012 Big Ten basketball tournament – which looks somewhat wide open with three co-champions and five teams in the top 15 in the nation.

Matt Gatens

No. 9 Illinois vs No. 8 Iowa

  • Time: 11:30 a.m.
  • Favorite: Illinois (-2 – down from -2.5 to open)
  • Season series: Illinois 65, Iowa 54 on Feb. 26 in Champaign.
  • Why Illinois will win: The Illini are clearly the more talented team (something that could be said involving probably six other Big Ten teams, however the season didn’t work out so well). The Hawkeyes have no answer for Meyers Leonard, who had 22 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks in the first game against Iowa.
  • Why Iowa will win: The Illini have largely quit on Bruce Weber, losing eight of nine to close the season (the lone win against Iowa). The Illini haven’t won a game away from Champaign since Jan. 4. This game isn’t in Champaign. Matt Gatens has gone basketball crazy, averaging roughly 59 points a game since Feb. 1 (rounded to the nearest 59).
  • For the bettors: Iowa.

Cody Zeller

No. 12 Penn State vs No. 5 Indiana

  • Time: 1:55 p.m.
  • Favorite: Indiana (-13.5 – up from -11.5 to open)
  • Season series: Indiana 88, Penn State 82 on Jan. 8 in State College; Indiana 73, Penn State 54 on Jan. 22 in Bloomington.
  • Why Penn State will win: Tim Frazier is the best player on the floor for the day, scoring 30 as Indiana guards struggle to score and the front line doesn’t rebound. The Nittany Lions outrebounded Indiana 28-27 in the first game, but the Hoosiers were saved by Matt Roth and Jordan Hulls, who hit a combined 12 of 15 3-pointers in the narrow win.
  • Why Indiana will win: The Hoosiers are hot, winning seven of eight to close the season – with all but one of them coming by double digits. Indiana is rebounding much better, and Christian Watford and Victor Oladipo have returned to early season form to support Big Ten co-freshman of the year Cody Zeller.
  • For the bettors: Indiana.

John Shurna

No. 10 Minnesota vs No. 7 Northwestern

  • Time: 5:30 p.m.
  • Favorite: Northwestern (-2.5 – from a pick ’em to open)
  • Season series: Minnesota 75, Northwestern 52 on Jan. 22 in Minneapolis; Northwestern 64, Minnesota 53 on Feb. 18 in Evanston.
  • Why Minnesota will win: Northwestern absolutely, positively has to win, and nothing in Northwestern’s history says they will win a game they absolutely, positively have to win (other than the March 3 game against Iowa). Minnesota’s athleticism will fluster the Wildcats.
  • Why Northwestern will win: The Gophers are cooked, having lost six in a row before closing with a win over lowly Nebraska. Minnesota has to win out to make the NCAA tournament, and even the Gophers know that isn’t going to happen.
  • For the bettors: Northwestern.

Robbie Hummel

No. 11 Nebraska vs No. 6 Purdue

  • Time: 8:00 p.m.
  • Favorite: Purdue (-9.5 – up from -8 to open)
  • Season series: Purdue 83, Nebraska 65 on Feb. 22 in West Lafayette.
  • Why Nebraska will win: They won’t. Er, Bo Spencer goes for 35 and Robbie Hummel loses his newly re-found shooting touch? Yeah, that’s it. Or try this: The game is on the floor where Purdue blew a big lead to Butler (RPI 115). How’s that?
  • Why Purdue will win: Nebraska is bad at basketball. And Purdue is hot.
  • For the bettors: Purdue (how did this line open at -8??).
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19 Comments on “Big Ten Tournament: Day One”

  1. Spencer Says:

    Haha I laughed out loud at the why Nebraska will win part. I’m stunned that Iowa is a dog.


  2. Gopher Bandanna Guy Says:

    Also surprised Iowa is a dog. And the Indiana-PSU line seems a bit to large for me, given that IU doesn’t really impress when not in Assembly Hall (I know they are up the road in Indy today, but -9.5 seems about right to me).

    I’ll take Iowa and Minny straight up to win (despite the fact that Ralph the III may be out with a knee injury), PSU to stay inside
    the -13.5, and Purdue laying 10.

    So, there’s your path to 0-4, all laid out.


    • Spencer Says:

      For betting, I’ll take Iowa, PSU (the first game between the schools was close, the second was the day after Joe Paterno died and PSU got blown out), Minnesota, and Purdue. A 2-2 day would make me happy.


    • Tony Says:

      IU beat Notre Dame by 11 in that building. Notre Dame>Penn State. Ergo…

      OK, that’s flawed logic, but I’m going with it.


    • Tony Says:

      See, you were perfect – except for Indiana…


  3. spartyjohn Says:

    I will have all of my first round predictions in by midnight tonight.


  4. Tony Says:

    Northwestern ruined my perfect day…


  5. Spencer Says:

    4-0 picks, 3-1 ATS. I’ll take it.


  6. Spencer Says:

    MSU -11, IU -1.5 for tomorrow. Don’t think late games are set yet.



  1. Big Ten Tournament: Day Two | The Daily Big Ten - March 9, 2012

    […] are your game-by-game previews (and betting tips, after we went 3-1 against the spread yesterday because we didn’t stick to our bracket on the Northwestern-Minnesota game): […]

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